The Best Place to Live in Allentown Pennsylvania
Allentown, Pennsylvania, is a city that is a regional center for commercial freight rail traffic. Its economy is based primarily on service industries, with some manufacturing, and has been experiencing significant growth in health care and warehousing. There are several corporate headquarters located in Allentown, including Air Products and Chemicals, Talen Energy, and the Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network.
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Allentown's history is rich and varied. The area was originally a hunting ground for Native Americans. Later, a group of tribal leaders agreed to sell land to William Penn. In the 1770s, sixteen armorers established a shop along Little Lehigh Creek. They made scabbards and repaired weapons. After the Trenton Battle, Hessian prisoners of war were kept in Allentown.
Allentown was also home to the Liberty Bell. The iconic landmark was hidden during the American Revolutionary War. A replica of the bell is now displayed at the Liberty Bell Museum. It is open to the public for tours and lectures.
Allentown is a cosmopolitan town, with residents from all walks of life. Some of its largest ethnic groups are Italians, Dominicans, Germans, and Puerto Ricans. There are also many foreign-born citizens. More than 14% of the population is foreign-born.
In the 19th century, the area's economy was centered around brewing beer. In 1897, the Horlacher Brewery was founded. By the 1980s, the Pabst Brewery was founded. Other notable breweries were Schaefer Beer and the Boston Beer Company. These breweries are now owned by Pabst.
After the Civil War, Allentown became a center for heavy industry. Eight brick yards opened during this time. Henry Leh began industrializing the city in 1861. During the 1870s, the iron industry collapsed. This led to the loss of high-paying jobs. However, the silk industry remained the largest industry in Allentown until the 20th century.
The Lehigh Canal transformed Allentown and the Lehigh Valley. The canal expanded the commercial capacity of the area. Also, the Phoenix Manufacturing Company opened the Adelaide silk mill in Allentown.
Allentown's population changed dramatically in the 1970s and 1980s. Many new immigrants came to the city from New York City and Philadelphia. At the same time, government-subsidized housing and permissive city codes brought in inexpensive multi-family apartments. Suburban living offered greenspace, low taxes, and less crime. As a result, the city began losing its working class.
The population of Allentown shifted again in the 1990s. Although the city was home to many historic homes, it was no longer a place for upper-middle-class families. Government-subsidized housing and lax zoning enforcement caused a large number of older homes to be sold and converted to affordable multi-family apartments. The demographic changes led to the development of a poverty problem in Allentown.
In recent years, the city has turned from a heavy industrial economy to a more service-oriented economy. The city is home to several large corporations, such as Air Products and Chemicals, the Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.